Well, it took some practice, but I’ve finally learned to pronounce “anthocyanin.” This is the pigment that manifests as deep, glossy red in staghorn sumac – one of the earliest shrubs in our woods to change color, and also one of the most spectacular. It’s a chemical nudge, akin to the two-minute warning at the end of a football game. Time to do the work that will be hard to do later. Brush hog the sled run. Remove the wren nests. Roll the studded snow tires out of the barn.
At the Center for Northern Woodlands Education, we’re also working down an autumn task list. The nonprofit’s fiscal year ends on September 30, so in addition to all the normal activity at the office, there are numbers to crunch and decisions to make as we consider how, and where, to focus educational resources in the next year.
We’re also heading into our busiest time for subscription renewals. Here’s how that typically starts: One day in October, a first wave of Northern Woodlands readers rise from their dens, sniff the cooling air, and decide that today is the day to renew their subscriptions. This will continue, on and off, through the second half of December. It’s an awe inspiring seasonal phenomenon, right up there with hawk kettles and monarch migrations...but it sure gets busy around here.
Another fall event that we’re eagerly awaiting is our first annual writers’ conference, taking place on the weekend of October 17-19 in Fairlee, Vermont. Sponsored by The Trust for Public Land, the conference will be hosted by the Hulbert Outdoor Center on beautiful Lake Morey. If you enjoy this magazine, it’s a good bet that you’ll also enjoy the weekend – we’ll have writers’ talks and workshops, as well as walks in the woods, s’mores by the fire, syrup tasting, and opportunities for informal discussions with naturalists, educators, and, of course, the Northern Woodlands crew. So please join us. You can sign up via this link or by calling Hulbert’s office at 802-333-3405.
And finally, a bittersweet note – this issue of the magazine is the last that will include Ed Wright and Marcia McKeague on our Board of Directors. Ed and Marcia share bragging rights for longest tenure on the board – so long, in fact, that they’ve come smack up against the bylaw limit of three successive terms (nine years total). Both have been enthusiastic, thoughtful contributors to the board’s work and are representative of the forest stewardship culture this nonprofit promotes. They will be missed.